Detective September Rafferty already has her hands full the first day back at work after having been stabbed in the shoulder. Her ex-stepbrother was found tied to a flagpole, just about naked, with a sign around his neck, but still very much alive. He was luckier than the victim they found a few months earlier, also naked and bound, but he had frozen to death. The crimes are eerily similar even though September's ex-stepbrother insists he was simply robbed, but no one is buying that story. He is obviously hiding something.
When a virus strikes down most of her colleagues, September finds herself running the department almost single-handedly and the bad news keeps coming in. Now she has a young woman missing on top of her ongoing investigation. And while all this is going on, she is supposed to be moving in with Jack, her high school boyfriend she just recently rekindled a romance with.
Jack had finally untangled himself from a long term relationship with a bipolar girlfriend, with whom the last years had been an ongoing struggle. She still had trouble letting him go completely, and despite the fact he was no longer interested in a relationship, he still felt some responsibility. But with September moving in, he was ready to move forward with his life.
When September finally moves in with Jack, the pressure suddenly blows the top off everything. Jack's ex disappears and leaves a note for him, September's disappearance has become more than one person and the information being uncovered by the investigation into the assault on her ex-stepbrother and the dead victim before him, brings up unexpected results. To top it all off, September becomes sick herself and is faced with some brutal realities.
This was a lot of information to be contained in one story!! There was so much going on in this book, I had a hard time initially figuring out who was doing what to whom and who belonged where..... But once I did start seeing the connections, I got a feeling where this story might be leading. Even so, it almost felt like being dropped off in the woods without a path or a compass to lead you.
The writing itself was good, the pace of the story nice and even and not dragging at all. The story also has very interesting concepts, the heightened awareness in the form of 'smell' when it comes to selecting a guilty victim. The sense of justification in the acts of violence on the part of the extra-sensory perpetrator, which holds some validity (although it is vigilante justice).
The contrast between two killers, one malignant and one vengeful, who then have their own confrontation, is an interesting exploration of 'grey area', as opposed to the regular black vs. white, evil vs. good contrast we see in these types of stories.
The romantic aspect of the book was almost a sideline........as if it were an ongoing story we are dropped in the middle of. In fact, I am not even sure as to who the leading lady in the book actually is. I assumed September, but it could well have been Lucky, for all her 'airtime' and character exploration.
To say the least, I found the book a tad confusing, not necessarily in content, but in purpose........is there going to be more??? Will September play a role? Will Lucky?
A well-written, certainly suspenseful novel, with plenty of twists and turns to spin your head!!!
**ARC courtesy of NetGalley and Zebra Books in return for an honest review.**